The Executive Director of the Africa Cente for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) Dr Rasheed Draman has said many are beginning to question whether or not the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmakers who initially said they were going to boycott the 2023 budget presentation if Mr Ken Ofori-Atta was the one going to present the document, have any credibility left in them following the change of mind.
Dr Draman told Alfred Ocansey on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3, Wednesday November 23 that the MPs have proven that their integrity can be called to question following their conduct.
“I am with the Majority of Ghanaian who are disappointed because we see a group of MPs who keep going foreword and backward to the extent that many are beginning to question the whether they have any credibility left.
“Because we are seeing is a situation where they have proven that their integrity can be called into question, they have proven that they are not standing on any firm principles, they have proven that oversight can be negotiated and when we get to the point where oversight can be negotiated the credibility of the parliament as a whole comes into question,” he said.
The Minority in Parliament was also unhappy with their colleagues’ action.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said their conduct disturbs parliamentary oversight on the functions of the executive arm of government.
The leader of the group of NPP Members of Parliament who earlier threatened to boycott the 2023 budget statement Kwame Andy Appiah Kubi had said that the NPP leadership and the leadership of the Majority have spoken to them not to discriminate against anyone who appears to present the budget including Mr Ofori-Atta.
Mr Appiah-Kubi who is also Lawmaker for Asanti-Akyim North said that they expect their constituents to understand them when they comply with the directive by the leadership.
He told Alfred Ocansey on the Sunrise show on 3FM Wednesday November 23 that “We have been told not to discriminate against anyone chosen to present the budget, including ken Ofori-Atta. We expect our constituents to understand us. The mother party has spoken.”
Mr Appiah-Kubi earlier served notice that the aggrieved MPs won’t be in Parliament to support the budget if Mr Ofori-Atta is the one to present the document.
The MPs believe that a new face should replace the Finance Minister due to the current economic challenges.
He told journalists that “We’ve gone back to (our demand for the President to) sack him now and therefore should the budget be presented under the stamp of the Finance Minister, we’ll not participate because as far as we’re concerned we’re never going to do business with him.
“And if we’re not going to do business with him, he does not participate in any process from the Presidency to the House. We will not participate in deliberations too.”
But at a crunch meeting in Accra on Tuesday November 22, the leadership of the party and the Majority group in Parliament in a statement co-signed by Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh-Dompreh and General Secretary of the NPP, Justin Kodua Frimpong, said “In the meantime, the leadership of the Parliamentary Group and the leadership of the party counselled the Honourbale Members of Parliamentary party to respect to the caucus communications channel , and to the largest extent possible, work together as one caucus unit. .
“Leadership of the party in this regard call upon the Members of Parliament to attend to all Government Business in the House including in particular the 2023 budget statement and economic policy and all connected matters.”
Reacting to this development at a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday November 23, the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said “We were not oblivious of the fact that to succeed in motion to remove the Finance Minister, we needed support and cooperation from the opposite of the House.
“When we initiated the motion, we firmly and sincerely believed that our friends opposite will walk the talk with us and not just make radio and interview declarations but they will manifest in supporting us on the the floor of Parliament.
“For me, [the U-Turn] is a stab on oversight and parliamentary oversight, it only weakens Parliament in exercising its oversight in calling ministers to order. That is very disappointing and that means that the Parliament of Ghana is failing the Ghanaian citizens and the Parliament of Ghana is failing to protect the public purse.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana